Chris Paul

NBA drama doesn't stop as Rockets reportedly trade for Russell Westbrook

NBA drama doesn't stop as Rockets reportedly trade for Russell Westbrook

The last two weeks have been not short on drama in the NBA.

The latest major move in the league came Thursday night as ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported a trade between the Thunder and Rockets that will send Russell Westbrook to Houston.

According to The Athletic's Sam Amick, Paul might be on the move again soon, with Miami a possible destination.

As far as the Sixers are concerned, the immediate focus will remain on winning the Eastern Conference — a goal James Ennis is very confident they can achieve (see story).

Paul and Jimmy Butler teaming up in Miami would certainly be interesting, though it's difficult to analyze the threat they'd pose at this stage without knowing what the Heat would be giving up in a hypothetical deal.

If Westbrook and James Harden manage to gel along with Eric Gordon, P.J. Tucker, Clint Capela and company, the Rockets could be another contender in the West. However, the ball-dominant duo does not appear to be the most natural fit. The pair played together with Oklahoma City from 2009-2012.

A footnote for the Sixers is that the team owns the Thunder's 2020 first-round pick, which is protected 1 to 20. If the pick does not convey in 2020, it will become Oklahoma City's second-round picks in 2022 and 2023. Given that the focus for Oklahoma City general manager Sam Presti seems to be more on building for the future than contending in the present, the latter scenario appears much more likely.

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More on the Sixers

Best of NBA: Cavaliers win thriller after Celtics' Hayward goes down with injury

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Best of NBA: Cavaliers win thriller after Celtics' Hayward goes down with injury

CLEVELAND -- Boston's Gordon Hayward broke his left ankle just five minutes into the season, a grisly injury that overshadowed Kyrie Irving's return to Cleveland and the Cavaliers' 102-99 win over the shocked Celtics on Tuesday night.

LeBron James scored 29 points -- 13 in the fourth quarter -- in his most extensive action in three weeks because of a sprained left ankle. He also fed Kevin Love for a critical 3-pointer with 46.3 second left to put the Cavs up 102-98.

Irving, who asked to be traded this summer after six seasons in Cleveland, had a chance to tie it with a 3-pointer at the horn but missed. Irving then shared a warm embrace with James, his teammate for three seasons.

Irving finished with 22 points for the Celtics, who overcame an 18-point deficit in the third and led with 2:04 left.

Love had 15 and Derrick Rose 14 in his debut for the Cavs (see full recap).

Rockets rally to spoil ring night for Warriors
OAKLAND, California -- Kevin Durant's baseline jumper swished through the net just barely too late, and the Houston Rockets rallied in the fourth to beat Golden State 122-121 Tuesday on the night the Warriors received their championship rings.

The Warriors had one last chance with 10.6 seconds left and Durant came up with the ball after Stephen Curry had missed. Durant and the Warriors thought they'd won and confetti began to fall when the two remaining officials -- the third got hurt in the fourth quarter -- reviewed the play and said Durant's shot was after the buzzer.

Trevor Ariza's 3-pointer with 2:09 remaining pulled Houston within 119-118 then Patrick McCaw hit a baseline jumper immediately after Golden State's timeout. James Harden made a layup and PJ Tucker hit two free throws with 44.1 to make it 122-121.

Nick Young came off the bench to hit six 3-pointers and score 23 points in a brilliant Warriors debut, Curry scored 22 points and Durant had 20 after a slow start. Klay Thompson added 16 points.

Chris Paul had four points on 2-for-9 shooting in his Rockets debut, while Harden scored 27 points and Eric Gordon 24 for the Rockets. Houston opened the fourth with a 9-0 run to get back in it (see full recap).

NBA Notes: Kyrie Irving says trade request was about his potential

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NBA Notes: Kyrie Irving says trade request was about his potential

BOSTON -- Kyrie Irving didn't try to hide his giddiness Friday when he was introduced as the newest addition of a Boston Celtics franchise he grew up watching.

"It's about to be crazy, G," Irving said in the ear of fellow new Celtics teammate Gordon Hayward as they sat on the dais two days after Boston's blockbuster trade with the Cavaliers was completed.

Boston sent Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and two draft picks to Cleveland for Irving. Hayward signed as a free agent in July.

Hayward and Irving smiled and bantered like old friends as they posed for pictures holding their new Celtics jerseys.

But not lost on Irving is that he's joining one of the league's most-storied teams because of his trade request from the team that drafted him and made him an NBA champion.

Irving acknowledged he wanted to leave the Cavaliers and his partnership the past three seasons with LeBron James. But he said the decision was about maximizing his own potential and not because of any specific issue with the Cavs or any individual (see full story).

Pelicans: Team gets Majok draft rights as part of trade
METAIRIE, La. -- The New Orleans Pelicans say they will receive the draft rights to overseas professional Ater Majok as part of a trade that is sending veteran small forward Quincy Pondexter, a second-round draft choice and cash to the Chicago Bulls.

The portion of the trade sending Pondexter and a second-round draft choice to Chicago was agreed upon Thursday and confirmed to The Associated Press by a person familiar with the move who spoke on condition of anonymity because it hadn't been announced.

Friday afternoon's announcement details that New Orleans is receiving in return.

The 6-foot-10 Majok is Sudanese by birth and grew up in Australia. The 30-year-old most recently played for Homenetmen Beirut of the Lebanese Basketball League.

For the Pelicans, trading Pondexter increases salary cap flexibility for a club that could use another small forward following Solomon Hill's offseason hamstring tear.

Rockets: Convicted killer of Paul’s grandfather parole-eligible
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- A North Carolina man convicted in the death of NBA star Chris Paul's grandfather has become eligible for parole after a judge's ruling.

The Winston-Salem Journal reports Forsyth County Superior Court Judge David Hall granted a motion Thursday to resentence 29-year-old Rayshawn Denard Banner to life with the possibility of parole. That means he will be eligible for parole in 12 years.

Prosecutors opposed the resentencing.

Banner was 16 when a jury convicted him in 2004 of first-degree murder in the November 2002 death of Paul's grandfather, 61-year-old Nathaniel Jones. Banner was sentenced to life without parole, as was his brother.

In 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that judges cannot give mandatory life sentences to juveniles. In 2016, the court decided that ruling would be applied retroactively.